The African Church Fathers


Last Sunday, our confession contained a quote from St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.).

But my sin was this, that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in Him but in myself and His other creatures, and the search led me instead to pain, confusion, and error.


Augustine, Bishop of the African city of Hippo, may be the most influential Christian thinker in the church's history, outside of the biblical writers themselves. His writings, most famous among them Confessions and City of God, helped give definition, clarity, and shape to the early church's theology on topics such as original sin, predestination, and the nature of man.  Augustine also spoke into topics such as sexual ethics and the evil of slavery. 

Further, Augustine's impact has gone well beyond his own time period. His "just war theory" has impacted government and military policies for nearly two millennia. The Reformation is indebted to the work of Augustine, as well. It was, in part, Luther's rediscovery of Augustine's works that ignited a passion to reexamine the Scriptures anew.

However, Augustine is only one of the "African Church Fathers" whom the church is indebted.  The African beginnings of the early church cannot be overstated.  Christianity was birthed in Israel but was nursed in the cradle of Africa.  The impact that African thought has had upon Christianity is important for the church to recognize and study.  There are three reasons we should study the African church fathers.


The African Fathers Shaped Christian Theology

Christianity spread to Africa en masse by at least the 2nd Century A.D., but the Bible tells us that the first African conversion to Christianity happened a mere year after the ascension of Christ.  In Acts 8, Philip encounters the Ethiopian eunuch whom he baptizes.  From there, the Gospel spread to Africa and African thinkers began influencing the theology of the early church.  Tertullian (160-225 A.D.) was an early African thinker who made numerous doctrinal contributions and was the first known theologian to coin the term trinitas ("trinity") to explain the Godhead.  Athanasius (293-373 A.D.), among many other contributions, made clear the biblical canon in his festal letter in 369 A.D. We are indebted to the likes of Augustine, Tertullian, and Athanasius for shaping the theology of the early church.


The African Fathers Protected the Early Church from Heresy

The African Fathers were able to withstand the onslaught of heretical teaching during the first few centuries of the church.  A number of heresies, often related to the divinity and humanity of Jesus, arose and necessitated attention.  No heresy gained more traction than Arianism.  Arius, an Alexandrian priest, began teaching that Jesus was not eternally God, but was created by the Father.  Arius famously claimed, "There was a time when [the Son] was not."  This controversy lasted most of the 4th century A.D. but was famously addressed during the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.  During the this first ecumenical council, the early church rejected Arius's teaching and confirmed the long-held belief that Jesus was "of the same substance" as the Father and was eternally God.

The Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed clarified the church's position upon the nature of God.  These creeds, formed by African theologians, have been confessed by churches for over 1600 years.  If not for the African Fathers tirelessly fighting to preserve our faith, the early church may have given way to heretical teaching.


The African Fathers Reveal the Need for Black History Month

My church history professor in seminary drilled this mantra into our heads: "Church history is a category of divine providence.  Thus, church history is a subcategory of theology proper (i.e. the Doctrine of God)." God has worked sovereignly throughout human history to bring about his will.  It's important that we study how God formed his church and that includes black history.  Forgetting the African roots and contribution of the early church is harmful for at least two reasons. 

For one, it can be easy to "whitewash" church history.  As a white guy from Alabama, though I knew Jesus was Jewish, I pictured him as a white guy, someone who looked like me.  We do the same with the church fathers.  Studying church history will reveal that black history is intricately intertwined.  In fact, this is not limited to the church fathers.  Black Christians have had a major impact on the church in America.  Men such as Lemuel Haynes, George Liele, and Richard Allen shaped Christianity in our country.  It's important that we discover, or re-discover, black history in our church history because the contribution of black theologians and pastors have been ignored, overlooked, or downplayed to the detriment of the church.

Secondly, the African Fathers combat a common misconception that Christianity is a "white man's religion."  This could not be further from the truth.  Christianity has a rich, African heritage that led to the conversion of Europe to Christianity, not the other way around.  The African Church Fathers remind us that we need to study black history because it is a part of our common history as God's people.

Pastor Steven


For Further Reading:

"Oneness Embraced" by Tony Evans (Pay special attention to chapters 5-11)

"Baptists in America: A History" by Thomas Kidd

Preparing Our Hearts For Easter

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I love holidays. I like that there is a specific day each year devoted to remembering and celebrating something or someone significant. MLK Day helps us reflect on the life and work of a very important person in our nation’s history. Memorial Day helps us reflect and remember soldiers who payed the price for our nation’s freedom. Thanksgiving Day helps us remember and reflect on all the blessings we have received from the Lord.  


As a follower of Jesus Christ, I especially love Christmas and Easter. These holidays are the most important holidays of the year for Christians because these days are dedicated to remembering and celebrating the most significant story of all (the Gospel) and the most significant person of all (Jesus Christ). At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’s coming. At Easter, we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. 

These holidays are the most important holidays of the year for Christians because these days are dedicated to remembering and celebrating the most significant story of all and the most significant person of all.

Historically, Christians have not only celebrated these specific days, but also the seasons that precede them. Before Christmas, there is the Advent season. And before Easter, there is the Lenten season. This Wednesday (2/14/18) is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. 


If you’re anything like me, you weren’t brought up and discipled in a tradition that observed Lent. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about Lent until a couple of years ago when I began seminary at Beeson Divinity School (BDS). Because BDS is interdenominational, I get to take classes with students and learn under faculty from several different denominations, many of which annually observe Lent. 


So around this time each year, I learn a bit more about Lent, and each year I grow to appreciate its meaning and significance. I’m thankful for my Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and other friends and professors who have taught me about the importance of this season and have helped me understand why we Baptists would do well to observe Lent too. 


If you are unfamiliar with Lent, it is a season of forty days, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday (the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday). These forty days are meant to represent the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness, where he fasted, prayed and endured temptation, before beginning his ministry. 


During the forty days of Lent, Christians around the world take time to repent, and abstain from certain foods or physical pleasures. Lent is a season dedicated to self-examination, reflection, and repentance. It’s a special season meant for us to focus intently on our relationship with God by giving up certain things in order to imitate Jesus’s forty day fast in the wilderness. Its a season dedicated to preparing our hearts for Easter. 

Lent is a season dedicated to self-examination, reflection, and repentance.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself, “What can I do specifically to observe Lent this year?” Let me offer three things you can do to participate.




We can fast in a number of different ways. Its not necessary that we completely give up eating until Easter. Rather, we go without something important to us for the forty days of Lent to draw our attention to our need for God. This may or may not be food.


The important thing is not necessarily what you give up for Lent, but instead why you give it up. Ultimately, we should choose to give up something that would be difficult for us to go without in order to remind ourselves of our dependence on God. 

The important thing is not necessarily what you give up for Lent, but instead why you give it up.



Of course as Christians are always supposed to pray. We are told by the apostle Paul to “pray without ceasing.” But for these forty days, when we pray, perhaps we could devote more of our attention toward our dependence upon God and our need for God’s grace. Perhaps, during this season we can focus on specific areas of our lives where we long to be more sanctified.  And certainly, we use our fasting as a prompt to pray. Whenever we think about what it is that we have laid aside during Lent, we should use this as an invitation to cry out to God. 




As Christians, we know that what God gives us isn’t meant for us to keep to ourselves but to share with others. As Christians, we know that we should follow the example of Jesus who gave up what was rightfully his in order to serve us (Philippians 2:1-8). 


Depending on what you decide to go without during this Lenten season, perhaps you could give that something to someone who would benefit from, or appreciate that something. If you are giving up movie watching, maybe you could buy a movie gift card for someone else. If you are giving up social media, maybe you could spend that time that you would be on social media serving others instead. 



By intentionally practicing these three disciplines over the next forty days, we will become more mindful of the ways that God has blessed us and has provided us with more than we could ever need. We will also become more aware of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us, by giving up his life so that we could truly live. This will allow us to better prepare our hearts for Easter Sunday, when we will rejoice and celebrate the fact that Christ has defeated death and has accomplished our salvation. 


 Wes Durrwachter // Pastoral Intern

Wes Durrwachter // Pastoral Intern

Why We Need Ash Wednesday


Yesterday, I went to the dentist for the first time in years. My lapse in going first started when I moved to a new city. Finding a new dentist wasn’t at the top of my priority list, and honestly, it slipped my mind.

I went on with life without out giving it any thought until, eventually, it dawned on me that it had been a good while since I’d had my teeth cleaned. Upon recollection, the thought of going was unwelcomed; the dentist seemed to me a really inconvenient thing. Though I knew I needed to go, I continued putting it off.

Eventually, my obstinance became embarrassment over how long it had been since I’d gone, and I feared humiliation, as well as what I might find out about my teeth. I became worried that my extended hiatus from the dentist would likely translate into lots of issues with my teeth, and with it, lots of dollars out of my bank account!

So I decided that ignorance was bliss. I would rather not know what was wrong with my teeth and just carry on with life as if all was fine. How foolish!

I bet that I’m not the only one who’s ever thought this way. My guess is that for some of you, even though your health insurance provides for an annual physical exam, you haven’t had one in years. You’d just as soon not know if you have any major health issues because it allows you to go on with life as usual.

However, pretending that nothing is wrong doesn’t make your issues go away; they’re there whether you acknowledge them or not. You can’t bury your head in the sand and actually make the outside world disappear, even though it seems that way. Ignoring truth and choosing to live in a fantasy doesn't alter reality.

Every single one of us will be laid in a coffin.

A prime example of the way we try to do this is demonstrated in how most of us go about our lives suppressing the fact that one day we will die. We are mortals, and the mortality rate for homo sapiens is 100%. Every single one of us will be laid in a coffin.

We’d like to believe that we are invincible; that we are the exception to the rule. Deep down we know that death is an inescapable reality; yet we live our lives ignoring this inconvenient truth. We busy our lives with work and amusements to keep us distracted from the fact that one day we will return to the dust.

This is one reason why I have recently begun to see the beauty of the liturgical calendar.

The church calendar is designed to orient our lives around ultimate reality; namely, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And as we follow Jesus’s life throughout the year, there are annual reminders about what it means to be a follower of Jesus living in a broken, sinful world.

One of those reminders is that, like Jesus, we are human, which means that we will die. And there is a day on the calendar specifically to help us with this called Ash Wednesday. It is a day to acknowledge our mortality.

We busy our lives with work and amusements to keep us distracted from the fact that one day we will return to the dust.

Scripture says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90: 12). Considering our mortality leads to wisdom, because when we recognize that we have a limited number of days, we will also live to make the most of each one of them.

James 4:14 reminds us that life is like a mist that quickly vanishes. It’s here and then it’s gone. You came from the dust, and to the dust you shall return. So, in the words of pastor John Piper, “Don’t waste your life.”

We need Ash Wednesday. We need to be forced to look our frailty square in the eyes and acknowledge it. We need to contemplate that we are sinners in need of a Savior; that we are mortals in need of a grave-conqueror.

We need Ash Wednesday. We need to be forced to look our frailty square in the eyes and acknowledge it.

Ash Wednesday ushers us into a season of fasting and seeking the Lord (Lent) in light of our impending date with death. It initiates a six week journey of pursuing God that culminates in Holy Week, where we fix our attention on the passion of Jesus.

It is here we finally celebrate (Easter), because through Jesus’ suffering we gain deliverance. By his death and through his resurrection, our sin has been paid for and our enemy, Death, has been defeated.

So next Wednesday, as we remember our mortality, we do so with sobriety, but also with hope. We can acknowledge death; we don’t have to avoid it like I did the dentist’s office for so long, because it doesn’t have ultimate power over us.

Death is certain, but so is resurrection.

And by looking it in the eye, death becomes a powerful tool to help us leverage every waking moment we are given to make the most of each gift-wrapped day.

Death is certain, but so is resurrection.

I hope you’ll join me for an Ash Wednesday service next week with our friends at Birmingham Community Church. We will gather with them at 2183 Parkway Lake Dr, Birmingham, AL 35244 at 6PM.

~Pastor Andy


  Andy Adkison // Pastor of Preaching & Vision

 Andy Adkison // Pastor of Preaching & Vision

Mercedes Marathon Traffic

This weekend is the Mercedes Marathon, which means getting to worship this Sunday could present challenges, since our building is inside of the race course. Unless you live within the parameters of the course, the best way to get to worship this week will be via the Red Mountain Expressway (Hwy 280/31). Be sure to chart your course before heading to worship so that you’re not stopped and rerouted! See you Sunday!

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Coming from the North

  • Take I-65S to Exit 261A to I-20E/59N
  • Take I-20E/59N to Exit 126A
  • Take exit 126A to merge onto US-280 E/US-31 S
  • Take the exit toward US-78/3rd-4th Ave S
  • Turn Left onto 25th St. S
  • Turn Right onto 5th Ave. S
  • Arrive at the Immanuel Building

Coming from the East

  • Take I-20W/59S to Exit 126A
  • Take exit 126A to merge onto US-280 E/US-31 S
  • Take the exit toward US-78/3rd-4th Ave S
  • Turn Left onto 25th St. S
  • Turn Right onto 5th Ave. S
  • Arrive at the Immanuel Building

Coming from the South

  • Take I-65N to Exit 261A to I-20E/59N
  • Take I-20E/59N to Exit 126A
  • Take exit 126A to merge onto US-280 E/US-31 S
  • Take the exit toward US-78/3rd-4th Ave S
  • Turn Left onto 25th St. S
  • Turn Right onto 5th Ave. S
  • Arrive at the Immanuel Building

Coming from the South Option 2

  • Take US280W to US31N
  • Take the exit toward US-78/3rd-4th Ave S
  • Turn Left onto 25th St. S
  • Turn Right onto 5th Ave. S
  • Arrive at the Immanuel Building

Coming from the West

  • Take I-20E/59N to Exit 126A
  • Take exit 126A to merge onto US-280 E/US-31 S
  • Take the exit toward US-78/3rd-4th Ave S
  • Turn Left onto 25th St. S
  • Turn Right onto 5th Ave. S
  • Arrive at Immanuel Building

Who Are You Inviting To Your Super Bowl Party?


On February 4th, Tom Brady will go for his sixth (Yes, SIXTH!) Super Bowl ring. This Sunday is one of the most culturally significant days of the year in the U.S. Sports fans and non-sports fans alike will gather in living rooms across the country to watch the big game (or the commercials!) between the Eagles and the Patriots. I will definitely be munching on Doritos and tuning in…

Four out of five college students from other countries go their entire college experience without ever being welcomed into the home of a local. 

Chances are, though, that there is one group of people that will not be watching the game, at least not in a living room. According to studies, more than 80% of international students who come to the United States for college never set foot in the home of an American. Never. Four out of five college students from other countries go their entire college experience without ever being welcomed into the home of a local in the city or town in which they are attending school. Frankly, that’s ridiculous.

The Super Bowl represents a fantastic opportunity to push back against that ugly statistic. As you and your friends plan for the big party on Sunday and delegate who’s bringing the rotel, who’s bringing the buffalo chicken dip, and who’s got the Doritos (what is a Super Bowl party without Doritos?!) you should also consider inviting some international students to come over and share in the fun. I bet they’ll take you up on the offer.

If you don’t know any internationals, you should! But even if you don’t, I bet someone in your church does know some and would love to crash your party and bring along some of his or her friends.

Jesus said to go to all nations and make disciples, but truthfully, the nations are in our backyard!

Who knows what could happen from there... Perhaps your guests will be unfamiliar with American football and you can help them begin to learn the rules of the game. Or maybe they will have never tried Doritos (God forbid!) and you can be the one to introduce them to this manna from heaven. Or you might find out they have a deep love for both football and Doritos!

Parties are a great environment for getting to know people and casually building relationships. By the end of the night, you may’ve made a new friend, and this new friendship might just be divinely appointed. It could be God’s providential way of getting his good news to an unreached people group.

Jesus said to go to all nations and make disciples, but truthfully, the nations are in our backyard! For many of us, going to all nations is as simple as going across the street or to the university down the street. It’s as easy as inviting over some international students to your Super Bowl Party. And while you’re at it, go ahead and invite your neighbors, friends, and coworkers as well. Celebrations, holidays, and culturally significant rhythms are great opportunities to live missionally.

God loves parties! Jesus regularly attended them, and it could be that he shows up at yours on Sunday evening to begin introducing himself to some folks who've yet to meet him! 

So as you plan for Sunday, make sure you have your bases covered for food and drinks, then intentionally think about who you’re going to invite over, and be sure it involves some friends who don’t yet know Jesus. Then take some time to pray for them, and for the party. I know that it might sound weird to pray over your Super Bowl Party, but God loves parties! Jesus regularly attended them, and it could be that he shows up at yours on Sunday evening to begin introducing himself to some folks who've yet to meet him!

                 Andy Adkison

                Andy Adkison

More Than At The Ballot Box: Six Ways To Get Serious About Being Pro-Life


Being Pro-Life involves more than a vote. As staff writer for Desiring God Marshall Segal put it, "an authentically Christian cause for life should begin at conception, celebrate every birth, provide love and care through childhood, and advocate for health, growth, and protection even through death. In other words, we should be pro-life from the womb to the tomb."


A truly consistent pro-life position means that we not only advocate for unborn lives but that we also proactively and sacrificially care for those around us who are marginalized, oppressed, suffering, and in need. If we say, "I'm pro-life" but fail to actually extend the love of Christ to those in proximity to us, we are giving lip service to a dead faith (James 2:14-17). We are like the hypocritical religious leaders that Jesus warned about when he said, "They preach, but do not practice." (Matt. 23:3). The Apostle John, in the pattern of Jesus' teaching, exhorts us, "Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18). 

In that vein, here are six local ministries that you can get involved with as a way of getting serious and walking the talk when it comes to truly being pro-Life.


1. Families Count.

Families Count is a family restoration ministry that seeks to minister to the parents of children who have been placed into the local foster care system or are at risk of entering it. In collaboration with Jefferson County Family Court, Families Count provides Christ-centered and biblically based training for parents. For more information regarding Families Count, visit: Some primary needs of Families Count are meals for trainings, mentors, and transportation providers. 

To get involved, contact Bethany Golden:


2. Christ Health Center

Christ Health Center is a local medical ministry that exists to provide physical, mental and spiritual aid for patients with such needs. Christ Health Center provides primary care, dental services and professional counseling to patients in need at an affordable cost. This ministry is not limited to experts in the medical field. CHC needs volunteers to help with patient triage, record scanning, groundskeeping, and pastoral care. 

To get involved, visit:


3. Aspire Movement

Aspire Movement is a mentoring ministry geared at developing and deploying the next generation of urban leaders through mutually transforming mentor relationships. Aspire mentors  provide guidance and direction to urban youth and point them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

To get involved visit:


4. Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes (ABCA)

ABCA is a ministry that exists to protect, nurture, and restore children and families through Christ-centered services. There are many ways to serve with ABCA, but one specific way is to get involved in foster care. ABCA provides training to help you become a foster parent and/or to provide respite care for foster families. 

To get involved, visit:


5. Sav-A-Life

Sav-A-Life is a comprehensive crisis pregnancy care ministry that is dedicated to offering free and confidential services in a loving environment to women, men, and families facing an unplanned pregnancy. A variety of volunteer services are needed, including counseling and emotional support. 

To get involved, visit:


6. Lifeline

Lifeline is an organization that exists to equip the church to manifest the gospel to vulnerable children. One area of their ministry focuses on assisting families with international and domestic adoption.

To get involved, visit:

Making Room For More: A Giving Initiative for 2018

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Healthy things grow.  When you place a plant in a pot, water it, feed it, tend to it, and give it light, it flourishes and becomes a bigger, more vibrant plant.  As a plant grows, it needs ample space in order for the roots to extend deeper and grow stronger.  Sometimes a plant outgrows its pot, and you have to place it in a new pot in order for it to continue to grow and stay healthy.

A church is no different.  You may have noticed the signs of health and growth in our church over the last couple of months.  Our childcare rooms are overflowing with kids.  The worship gathering is increasingly filling up.  We are excitedly looking to mobilize a team of missionaries to Boston to go plant a new, gospel-proclaiming church! 

As our roots extend and our church bears the fruit of growth, we are feeling the pinch of being in a "pot" that is too small.  Our kids rooms are overcrowded. Noise from our children's area often travels into the worship room, causing distractions, especially for guests who tend to sit nearest the kids area.  The worship gathering has begun to surpass the 70% capacity threshold of feeling "full".  

On Sunday December 3rd, we will have a special giving Sunday to raise funds to "make room for more"

Simply put, we need to find a way to make room for our growth. The Making Room For More Initiative aims to do just that.  On Sunday December 3rd, we will have a special giving Sunday to raise funds to "make room for more."

Through Making Room for More we aim to raise funds to:

  • Convert the office into multi-purpose classroom space for Immanuel Kids and for trainings and workshops. 
  • Sound proof the kid's area through added insulation and by installing a new glass door by the water fountain.
  • Provide initial moving costs for the Castellos as they prepare to head to Boston.

Our goal is to raise $20,000 to achieve these goals.  We are asking every member and attender of Immanuel Church to pray and consider how the Lord is asking you to "make room for more".  We believe it is the responsibility of every member to give intentionally, sacrificially, and cheerfully toward God's work in the world.  

We believe it is the responsibility of every member to give intentionally, sacrificially, and cheerfully toward God's work in the world.  

Here are two things we want every member of Immanuel to do in order to make room for more:

- Bring a Special Offering.  Pray and seek the Lord and ask him how much you are supposed to give. The Lord uses our faithful, sacrificial giving to reach, build up, and multiply more disciples of Jesus!

- Turn in a Giving Pledge.  This year we are encouraging all members to make a pledge for giving toward the 2018 budget.  We believe this will help you see giving as an issue of worship and  committed devotion to advancing Christ's Kingdom. Pledge cards also help the elders and finance team set the budget by giving us real numbers to work with.  


Let's work together, dig deep, and give generously in order to "make room for more" people to meet Jesus!

From BHAM To Boston: A Vision For A New Church

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On Sunday we shared some exciting news...

From day one of our church's existence, we’ve said that we do not merely want to be a church plant; rather, we want to be a church that plants churches. Our desire is to fulfill Acts 1:8 – to be witnesses of Jesus from our neighborhoods to New Zealand, and all in between.

Our hope has always been that as we preach the gospel and live in community together, many from within our ranks would be led by the Holy Spirit to go make disciples in other places, both locally and globally.

We see this happen in Acts 13. As the leaders of the church in Antioch fasted and prayed together, the Holy Spirit led them to send out Paul and Barnabas for the sake of gospel mission.

Following this model, our elder team has been in a season of prayer for the past year. We’ve been asking God to lead us in the way we should go and to make his direction for our church clear.

As we’ve prayed together, our hearts have been increasingly united around a particular burden that we now perceive as a prompting from God. We believe the Lord is leading our church to send out one of our elders, Steven Castello, to go to Boston, MA in hopes of planting a church.

Boston is one of the most under-reached cities in our nation. Less than 3% of 5.9 million people who live there are followers of Jesus. It is a city desperate for Jesus, and desperate for more gospel-centered churches.

In our vision statement we say that we want to make the real Jesus known in Birmingham and beyond. We believe that Boston is our "beyond," and we want to mobilize one of our pastors to go there as an ambassador for Christ.

In this season, we are asking everyone to pray with us as we eagerly explore this exciting vision to mobilize the Castellos to go to Boston. We long to follow the Lord’s leading and to be obedient to His will for our church. We are asking God for clarity of direction, unity of heart, and provision of needs as we seek to open-handedly say to God, “Wherever you lead us, we’ll go.”

On October 1st at 6PM we will host an informational "town hall" style meeting where you can learn more about this vision for a new church in Boston and ask questions. Please make plans to come and learn more!

For the Glory and Fame of Christ,

Pastor Andy

3 Reasons Personal Righteousness Matters


There’s no question that the scriptures teach we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. The Apostle Paul tells us that “a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ… because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16). There is no good deed or act of service we can perform to contribute towards our salvation. We can only be saved by placing our trust in Jesus Christ.

So the question begs...if that is true–that we are saved by grace through faith alone–then is it important for us to pursue righteousness? In a word, YES! Though our righteousness is not meritorious, it is most certainly necessary and critical. Here are 3 reasons why.

1. We are Saved for Good Works

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are created for good works. Apart from Christ, we are unable to do anything that pleases God, but as a result of being united to Jesus through faith, we are enabled to obey God and live according to His Word. Since God has graciously empowered us to act righteously, and since He has created us for this very purpose, we should pursue it!. If we refrain from participating in the good works that God has created us for, then we are rejecting God’s will for our lives and choosing to live in rebellion. 

If you have been united to Christ through faith, then you have been set free from the bondage of sin and given the ability to do what God commands. He does not intend for His children to go through life passively doing whatever they please. He intends for us to actively participate in the good works that He has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). 

2. We Have a Living Faith

Martin Luther said, “We are saved by faith alone, but faith that saves is never alone.” In other words, true faith in Christ will always lead to a life of loving obedience to God. While our good works do not save us, they are a necessary part of our Christian faith. Paul reminds us that “our old self was crucified with [Christ]… so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6). If we have truly been united with Jesus through faith, then we have been set free from the power of sin. Our faith in Christ is accompanied by the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads us to refrain from sin and to live in holiness and good works. As John Tweeddale puts it, “Christ is the ground of our salvation, faith is the instrument of our salvation, and works are the fruit of our salvation.”

3. We Display the Goodness of the Gospel to the World Through Our Good Works

How can the broken and lost world around us see the goodness of Jesus's Lordship? How can they be led to believe that the gospel is truly good news? Surely not through us refusing to participate in the good works that God intends for us. Jesus tells us that the world will know that we are his disciples if we have love for one another (John 13:35), and that the world will give glory to God when they see us perform good works (Matthew 5:16).

Individuals that do not know have a relationship with Christ ought to see how we live and be so attracted to what they see that they desire Jesus. They should see Jesus in everything we do and  hear Jesus in everything we say. Pursuing righteousness and participating in good works is the way that we shine the light of Jesus to a dark and broken world. 

For Further Reading


“The Necessity of Good Works for Christians.” by Tom Hicks

“Good Works and the Christian Life.” John Tweeddale,


Discipleship: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Words—Reader’s Edition, edited by Jeffrey B. Kelly.

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, by Richard Foster 

The Great Omission: Rediscovering Jesus’ Essential Teachings on Discipleshipby Dallas Willard

 Wes Durrwachter is a student at Beeson Divinity School and a pastoral intern at Immanuel Church. 

Wes Durrwachter is a student at Beeson Divinity School and a pastoral intern at Immanuel Church.